Rock Bridge girls basketball advances after first-round state tournament win

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | 8:48 p.m. CDT; updated 9:19 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Rock Bridge girls basketball defeated the Washington Blue Jays 77-38 on Wednesday in the first round of the Class 5 state tournament.

CAMDENTON — In the first 10 seconds of Wednesday's Class 5 state tournament game, Sophie Cunningham drained a 3-pointer. Fifteen seconds later she stole a pass, sliced through the defense and hit a layup.

After 25 seconds, the Rock Bridge High School junior already had five points, which was more than the Bruins' opponent, Washington High School, scored in the first quarter. The Bruins (24-3) went on to roll past Washington (23-5), winning their first-round tournament game 77-38.

Rock Bridge scored 24 points in the first quarter. The Blue Jays didn’t reach 24 points until early in the third quarter. In the previous three games combined, the Bruins had given up two points in the first quarter, according to Rock Bridge coach Jill Nagel.

"After the first quarter when we gave up three [points], I was like, 'whoa,'" Nagel said.

Rock Bridge had a significant size advantage over their opponents. The Blue Jays had four starters measuring 5-9 or shorter, but every Bruins starter was more than 5-10.

The 6-1 Cunningham led Rock Bridge in scoring with 18 points.

Time and again the Bruins were able to get easy looks in the paint. And when Washington collapsed its defense down low, Rock Bridge found a deadly array of open shooters. Rock Bridge finished with 10 three-pointers from six different players.

"I was really happy with how we moved the ball," Nagel said. "We need to keep doing that if we want to win."

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